The University of Colorado and Boulder communities take health and exercise very seriously.

Eating well and working out are key components to calling yourself a true Buff or Boulderite.

About 88 percent of CU students participate in one or more Recreational Sports Activities, according to the Rec Center website.

There are plenty of outdoor activities to keep students busy year round, but it can be difficult to fit skiing or hiking between classes.

A quicker and often more convenient way for students to stay in shape is the university Recreation Center located between Folsom Field and Macky Auditorium.

Students will pay a mandatory fee of $95.78 per semester this year, which includes maintenance and access to the facility. In June, the CU Board of Regents approved a fee increase of $123.60 per student, per semester beginning in the fall of 2013 to support a $63.5 million renovation to the Rec Center.

The fee -- which was approved by student vote in April -- will be in addition to the maintenance and access fee that students are already paying.

With additional changes to existing bonds, students will be responsible for a $208.85 fee per semester to cover the cost, according to the Rec Center staff.


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Saranj Khalsa, who will be a junior in the fall, said she uses the Rec Center frequently but does not believe the fee hike and renovation should be a priority for the university right now. Khalsa said she will likely still be at CU when the fee goes into effect in 2013.

"I think the money would be better spent on increasing financial aid," Khalsa said. "It seems clear that CU should be more focused on making education available to students than buildings."

The Rec Center has an ice rink, pool, cardio and weight room, aerobics classes, tennis and basketball courts and much more.

Today, the center is 240,000 square feet -- about 122,352 square feet shy of the Indoor National Space Standards. Students often complain about the outdated equipment and lack of space but a recently approved renovation will give the entire facility an overhaul.

CU senior Sean Sutherland said he is excited to see a renovation even if it does come at a higher cost to students.

"I won't be a student when the renovation is complete but I will still be in Boulder probably and would like to come use the facility as a member," said Sutherland, who uses the facility at least a couple times a week.

Sutherland said he is looking forward to the new facility but is expecting to be impressed because of the high project budget.

Regents expressed concerns during their June meeting about the increased fees but unanimously approved the fee, stating the importance of the student voice, who supported the increase during spring elections.

Regent Joe Neguse, D-Boulder, expressed concerns about the cost of an outdoor pool, which would not be usable year round and would create expensive maintenance and utilities, while the facility's child care program was cut by CUSG in the spring.

"I'm worried about where the student government's priorities are," Neguse said. "Making fees affordable needs to be consistent."

CUSG president Andrew Yoder said the childcare facility is not likely to come up again this year during budget discussions.

The Rec Center is now in the designing and planning stages of development with hopes of construction beginning in the spring of 2012. The project is expected to be completed by the fall of 2013, when the fee goes into effect.